52 Essentials for EQ

Better Communication for Stronger Connections

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The 52 Essentials for EQ card deck game builds skills in social emotional intelligence, critical thinking, mindfulness, self-confidence, empathy, character education, executive function, and critical consciousness.

This versatile emotional intelligence card deck is used by teachers and counselors worldwidde to build skills that will last a lifetime. Easily facilitate an endless array of experiences for social circles, reflective journaling, classroom, and counseling topics.


Every card has five (or six) elements:

  1. Suit - Indicates the general focus (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills)
  2. Number - Reflects the difficulty of the content. Low card numbers are simpler and high values are more complex.
  3. Title- The header defines the specific topic addressed.
  4. Two Questions
    1. Top Question - Discuss, practice, apply, and connect through stroytelling and roleplaying.
    2. Bottom Question - More challenging question(s) for deeper discussions, self-reflection, or journaling.


Because the card values indicate level of difficulty, facilitators can easily find exercises that are suitable for their group. The deck is organized such that the lower card values 3 Levels of Play:

  1. Beginner - Create four piles of cards with the lowest card values on the top. Start with "1" and take turns answering and/or discussing the questions. 
  2. Intermediate - Pick a suit or shuffle the whole deck. Have players draw any card and discuss the topics in small groups. Alternatively, have every player draw a card and find a partner with whom to discuss the topic. When the conversation ebbs, have the two swap cards and look for new partners.
  3. Mastery - Each player draws 5 cards. Taking turns, players share a personal story that corresponds to the topic or questions on the card. Other players try to guess the card topic 

These multiple experiences allow learners to build Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and communication skills while strengthening everyday relationships.  


  • Hearts:  Self-Awareness - Recognizing and understanding your thoughts and feelings.
  • Diamonds:  Self-Management - Expressing emotions appropriately and striving toward personal goals.
  • Spades:  Social Awareness - Showing understanding and expressing empathy towards others.
  • Clubs:  Relationship Skills - Forming and maintaining healthy relationships, as well as managing conflict.

Plus, additional special symbols reflect additional focus on these topics:

  • Responsible Decision-Making - Making ethical and constructive choices.
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion - Considering perspectives and experiences of others.

Game Play and Facilitation notes included. 

Each Card is 2.5" by 3.5" and the deck comes in a sturdy tin.

52 Essentials for EQ

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